There was always something I left unsaid growing up, since I could never find the words. I wasn't comfortable with who I was. I couldn't stand the vulnerability of putting myself out there. But when I first picked up a camera in grade 9, my head became clear. It felt safe, so I shot everyday over the summer. As I looked through these photos, patterns arose, and with each one reflecting more of my thoughts and feelings. Those patterns, in tandem with what I liked to shoot, developed into my style. That style is how I express myself. Through said expression, it revealed insights and realizations about myself, and allowed me to face my emotions at my own pace. I could piece myself together and the messages I wanted to convey, visually. The words I was searching for came to me after. Whenever I went out to take photos at first, I'd feel self-conscious over strangers perceiving me as conspicuous. Hours flew by, and a man struck a conversation with me about photography and living in Vancouver. Someone else saw my camera, and talked to me because they love photography. I'd engage with the players on my school's teams, showing them how I portrayed their emotions and stories, helping me understand who they are. Those connections wouldn't have formed without it getting me out there. With each photo, I feel a deeper connection to the world. In return, I connect others through the stories I've captured. I can adapt to new situations quickly with the confidence and understanding I gained.
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While this is a very good essay that explains the importance of your hobby in your life, you did not get around to explaining why you were not comfortable with who you are. Since you said photography helped you get over that, you should at least clue in the reviewer into what sort of discomfort you felt and why. Your response should complete the character build up that you used as the basis of your discussion. Before explaning how photography helped you. You should first explain why photography helped you. That is the more important response to the question "Why it is important to you?" The rest are just explanations that help establish the reality of the why. You should be thinking along the lines of explaining your background to the reviewer to help him understand how photography became a channel for your self expression.
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